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Trail-Starter Arrow

Trail-Starter Arrow

By Christopher Anderson

How often has this happened to you?

You've just shot a deer with your bow and arrow, and in your excitement, you've climbed down from your treestand to start blood trailing before taking note of exactly where the animal stood.

When you reach the spot where you thought the deer was standing, you have great difficulty finding it.

You're off to a bad start in the trailing process because everything looks different from the ground than it does from 20 feet or more in an elevated treestand. This is especially true in places where ground cover is thick, like where I hunt in Florida.

For these reasons, I carry an extra trail-starter arrow in my quiver.

Immediately after shooting a deer, I nock my trail-starter arrow and shoot it into the ground where the deer was standing when I shot it. This gives me a solid starting point of reference to begin my search.

I like to use an old arrow that I don't use much anymore, but isn't beat up too much to fly straight.

Also, I use a field tip on this arrow, and put it in the hardest-to-get-to place in my quiver so I won't mistake it for my hunting arrows tipped with broadheads.


Early-Season Hunting
In most archery seasons and some early gun seasons, whitetails’ preferred food sources are changing as many plants start to dry out. If there’s one sure bet about deer, it is that they prefer the most succulent foods available. It doesn’t matter how ...
 

Rubbing It In
Many hunters believe rubs to be the most reliable form of buck sign. Some believe that the bigger the rub the bigger the buck. To an extent, both are true. The big advantage of rubs is that they’re less likely to be made randomly than scrapes. Rubs ...
 

The Secondary Rut
 If you don’t tag out during the primary rut, you have a second chance. The secondary rut occurs about 28 days after the primary rut is over. Any adult doe not successfully bred during the primary rut will come into heat again on the 28th day of...
 

Hunting The Pre-Rut
Keep your eyes open for the first signs of the rut, because the pre-rut is one of the best times to bag a buck. The first rubs signal that bucks are getting interested but are not yet quite all the way "there." At that period, buck grunts work well,...
 

Sorting Out the Sign
So what’s hot — rubs, scrapes, trails, bedding areas or feeding areas? Actually, they all are. An area containing all these things indicates a high amount of deer activity. However, don’t bet the farm on any one of them. Split the difference. Hunti...
 

Population-Control Hunts
With the whitetail deer population exploding nationwide and with the whitetail’s particular ability to live close to human habitation, the public perception of "Bambi" is changing. Ask any non-hunting suburbanite who has had a few thousand dollars of...
 

Venison Care
Clean, cool and quick are the watchwords of good venison care. A clean shot, clean field-dressing and quick cooling of the carcass are the key steps to good-tasting venison. Immediate field dressing is best, as this starts the all-important cooling p...
 

Cutting To The Core
Sometimes even the best plans don’t work out. Usually this is when the season is winding down time is running out. Under those circumstances, you might have to break the rules and hunt a buck’s core area. It’s a risky maneuver, and just one tiny mist...
 

Risky Business Rut
Don’t think a mature buck is dumb, even during the heat of the rut. He might move more than usual; he may move more in daylight than usual; and he will certainly venture into unfamiliar territory while chasing does. This goes against his native cauti...
 

Rubs for Results
While there’s much debate on the subject, rubs can be a reliable form of buck sign. Bucks use (some) rubs to define their territory. Glands in the buck’s forehead produce an oily substance that contains a scent peculiar to that buck — a signature sce...
 
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